Sunday night in the piazza

  1. Cagli piazza
    Dominica, 28-06-2009

PiazzaNite100By Sharon Michael.  The sharp smell of cigarette smoke and small fragments of conversations in Italian, English, Spanish, and French floated across the piazza. At a table occupied by five adults and four lively young children, the men and women spoke all three languages. The boys and girls asked for more gelato in Italian. One woman was smoking and she held her cigarette away from the table, protecting the children from the lung- blackening fumes but exposing the people at the next table. No one complained.  Two American women at the next table wondered aloud why the children were allowed to be up so late. They decided it must be a special occasion, or at least it would have been for them if their parents had allowed them to stay up this late on a Sunday night.

The couples and groups who filled the tables and stood in the piazza came in all sizes, shapes, and ages. The young, beautiful people were there with their friends. So were the fashionably-dressed 30-somethings, the middle-aged and those of a certain age. Conversations were animated. At a table occupied by two middle-aged couples, the men seemed to be debating an important political issue while the women held a second quieter conversation.  The men waved their arms, leaned forward when they spoke, and sat back when after had made a point. The women sat back in their side-by-side chairs, engaged in a separate, more casual conversation.  

A bell rang at 22:10, but people were still arriving in the piazza. Friends greeted friends as if they hadn’t seen one another for months, or even years. A few men stood alone watching passersby. They didn’t appear to be looking for anyone or anything special, just enjoying the hot summer night and the sights and sounds of the piazza filled with people.

Some people were leaving even as others continued to arrive. One young couple seemed headed for home. Her hand was thrust down the back of his pants and she massaged his right cheek as they matched strides, moving quickly toward the parked cars. The night was just beginning.

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